Is Sauna Safe For High Blood Pressure?
Hi everyone !
Today's topic is a very important one as we're discussing sauna use and how it relates to hypertension. As you may or may not know, cardiovascular disease is responsible for roughly 18 million deaths (1/3 of total deaths) each year worldwide.
It is in fact the #1 cause of death worldwide and has been for the last 15 years according to the world health organization. This is why it is crucial that we do everything in our power to use the tools & knowledge we have in our hands to prevent, reduce & reverse the terrible damage heart diseases are causing worldwide everyday.
Before I give you an answer to the above question, I want to mention that I am not a doctor or certified health specialist and so you shall take everything I’m writing here with a grain of salt.
Please ask your own doctor for professional/medical recommendations.
However, as i’m working in the sauna space & sweat in my own sauna almost daily, I’m sure I know a few things that might shed some light on the above question.
As always, I will give you the most comprehensive and science based answer as I possibly can.
Is Sauna Safe For High Blood Pressure ?
The answer is yes 90% of the times.
In fact, it is strongly recommended for people who suffers from high blood pressure & cardiovascular diseases to use the sauna multiple times a week. According to studies using it up to 4–7 times/weekly is known to prevent & reverse :
- Congestive Heart Failure
- Ischemic heart disease
- Peripheral artery disease
- Endothelial dysfunction
- Left ventricular dysfunction
- Other cardiovascular diseases
Take a quick glance at the infographic below if you’d like more details on that, I’d also suggest you to check out Dr Rhonda Patrick’s website where she does one of the most detailed overview of all the health benefits sauna use can bring into your life : FoundMyFitness Topic - Sauna
How Does Sauna Help With Blood Pressure ?
According to a 20 year long studies in Finland in which they have followed up to 2000 males who used saunas multiple times a week, they have found that :
- Mens using the sauna 2–3 times a week were 24% less likely to develop hypertension.
- Mens using the sauna 4–7 times a week were 46% less likely to develop hypertension compared to men who only used it once a week.
According to those studies, the reason why sauna bathing is useful in preventing & reversing high blood pressure is that heat exposure helps with arterial compliance (arteries flexibility)as well as haemodynamic (the ability of your blood to flow easily across your body).
Precautionary Measures For Sauna Use If You Have Blood Pressure
The only thing you need to be careful about if you already have high blood pressure not pushing yourself too hard.
- Do not expose yourself to high temperatures (200F-215F) if you do so do it for no more than 5–10 min.
- Choose a sauna that’s going to increase your heart rate but not too much (studies done usually aim for 140F-180F) This can be achieved with an infrared or dry Finnish sauna.
- Aim for shorter sauna session to start with and work yourself as you develop more resistance. (Sessions of 10–25 min)
- Do not expose yourself to drastic temperature changes such sauna bathing + cold plunges in freezing water. This might increase blood flow suddenly and if your arteries are already damaged might cause some issues.
- Do not drink alcohol in or before the sauna. Most people who experienced issues with sauna bathing had consumed alcohol before.
I hope I was able to bring some clarity to the question as to whether or not you should use the sauna while having high blood pressure.
My recommendation is that you use it more often and monitor your results. Remember to use the sauna intelligently and do not push yourself too hard.
Let me know if you have more questions,
Gabriel from Northern Saunas : The Highest Standards In Home Saunas.